Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 303–311 | Cite as

Interaction Between the Parenting Alliance and Parent–Child Activities in a Clinic-Referred Sample of 2 to 18-year-olds

  • Rebecca Lakin Gullan
  • Michelle LeRoy
  • Paul Boxer
  • Annette Mahoney
Original Paper


Several decades of research have demonstrated a link between marital, parenting, and child domains. The present study examined the nature of these links by testing the moderating effect of the parent–child relationship on the association between the parenting alliance and internalizing and externalizing problems in 324 dual-parent families of 2-to-18-year-old clinic-referred youth. Findings indicated that positive parent–child activities directly related to children’s internalizing and externalizing problems, and modified the nature of the association between the parenting alliance and internalizing problems in families of 6-to-10-year-olds. Interestingly, in families where parents engaged in fewer positive activities with their children, a strong parenting alliance actually related to greater child internalizing problems. Findings support the importance of understanding the interaction between the marital and child domains in order to effectively intervene with families of children experiencing behavior problems.


Parent–child activities Parenting alliance Clinic-referred Family relations Internalizing problems Externalizing problems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Lakin Gullan
    • 1
  • Michelle LeRoy
    • 2
  • Paul Boxer
    • 3
  • Annette Mahoney
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Behavioral and Social SciencesGwynedd-Mercy CollegeGwynedd ValleyUSA
  2. 2.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  3. 3.Rutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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